Technology: friend or foe of the translation and interpreting industry?

Several recent studies have confirmed that, in the next few years, due to robotics and artificial intelligence, many people will lose their jobs. Contemporary computer technology aims to reproduce the most complex mental processes with the help of ad hoc software.

The main software we have been focusing on lately is Bolt. This software is from the US. Its name stands for Broad Operational Language Translation and aims to combine the voice recognition technologies of Apple’s Siri, or Google’s Alexa, with natural language understanding to allow the US military to conduct informal conversations with the inhabitants of the countries where they carry out missions.

The project began in 2011and it was entrusted to IBM, which promised to deliver it by 2021.

We are constantly told that machine learning, with the contribution of artificial intelligence, can help the sector: translation services, due to the improvement of technologies, will be able to make ever greater progress in work projects. The precision and accuracy of the results will increase.

Human learning cannot be replaced by technology: capturing the deeper meaning between different languages is a process that cannot be standardized with precise rules. Even though there are indeed huge steps forward, it would be quite difficult to replace human translators with robots, especially in publishing. In texts, where an expressive and creative function still prevails, where it is important to maintain the author’s personal and subjective style, it is inconceivable that automated translation could ever replace humans.

Idioms, rhythm of sentences, and associations of ideas and allusions can only be understood by a human being, as each of these expressions can refer to a different material culture and there is no univocal translation. Human language is dynamic, and it thrives on experience and interaction: and only a human being can understand them.

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written by EPLS the 5 October, 2020


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